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Trump’s Actions Broke The Immigration System. Biden’s Inactions Haven’t Delivered Needed Changes

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Must-Read Catherine Rampell Column Underscores Why Biden Should Deliver More Reforms Via Executive Actions

Washington, DC – A must-read new column from the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell, “Trump broke the immigration system. Biden won’t fix it. So Ukrainians suffer,” highlights why America’s inability to welcome Ukranians fleeing violence illustrates a larger and disturbing reality: the Trump administration’s deliberate actions decimated the immigration and refugee system and the Biden administration’s inactions, together with aggressive GOP obstruction, have failed to deliver the modernized immigration and refugee processing system we need and American deserves.

Below, find key excerpts of the Catherine Rampell column, available in full here, followed by additional commentary from America’s Voice.

“For four years, Donald Trump sabotaged the U.S. immigration and refugee system. Over the past year, President Biden has done too little to repair the damage.

Now, amid the biggest European refugee crisis since World War II, Ukrainians and their allies are suffering the consequences … we’ve done pretty much the bare minimum — that is, we’ve allowed Ukrainians already here to stay longer. This is little comfort to families stuck in war-torn Ukraine, of course, or those who have fled with little more than the clothes on their backs.

…So far, the Biden administration appears reluctant to exercise options that would ease the burden on NATO allies. Exactly why is unclear, given bipartisan American support for receiving more Ukrainian refugees. One possibility is that the administration knows its capacity to quickly process immigrants was severely damaged in recent years — and that Biden has not done nearly enough to make it functional again.

To be clear: Biden inherited a mess of an immigration system. Trump and his underlings did everything they could to throw sand in the gears, making an already dysfunctional bureaucracy as cruel and Kafkaesque as possible. 

… Biden took office promising to restore the United States’ moral leadership on immigration in general and refugees in particular. He has, however, dragged his feet on fulfilling commitments to reverse many of Trump’s worst immigration policies, including those relating to asylum seekers and refugees.

…Trump’s xenophobic policies had consequences beyond the cruelty inflicted while he was in office. Ultimately, they hobbled our ability to provide aid during a humanitarian catastrophe and thereby protect our own national security interests. Now, Biden must not only respond to the current crisis but also repair our institutions so that we have greater capacity to deal with future ones.”

According to Vanessa Cardenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

The Biden administration inherited a cruel, dismantled immigration system designed primarily to keep people out, even when they were fleeing war, violence and persecution. While there have been some good faith efforts and steps forward, the combination of Republican obstruction on Capitol Hill and Biden administration foot-dragging means that many promises remain unfulfilled when it comes to the treatment of immigrants, refugees and people seeking safety.

Whether Ukrainians fleeing war, Afghans fleeing the Taliban, Cameroonians fleeing armed conflicts, Haitians fleeing political violence or Central Americans fleeing femicide and other forms of violence, we are witnessing the continued limits of our current broken system to meet the moment. Republicans would rather defend Putin and run on ‘open borders’ falsehoods, ugly xenophobia, and attacks on any and every action Biden takes, real or imagined. So it is up to Biden and Democrats to deliver policy change that better aligns our values and our interests. 

The United States is more than capable of implementing an immigration system that works, one that is modernized and keeps us safe while maintaining our values as a nation that welcomes immigrants and refugees alike. To stand with the American people, President Biden can be doing much more, especially via executive actions, including a complete end to the blanket expulsion of asylum seekers through Trump’s Title 42 policy. As we’ve been highlighting, this is not only the right policy course, but the right political course for Democrats.